How To Take Reflection-Free Photographs Through Glass?

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4x6
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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 6:10AM

I was at a observation deck of a tall building today and it was very difficult to take photos without seeing reflection of the interior in the glass. I seem to run into this problem every now and then when I go traveling. 


So I looked up the solution online. I saw this one which seems like it might work
http://lifehacker.com/take-reflection-free-photographs-through-glass-with-thi-473465370 


Though for the space I was in today, it seemed like there was reflections all over the place. So I had my doubts such a small cloth would have worked for where I was at today. Nevertheless, I'll make one to have on hand. 

On the same page in the comments section, someone talked about a polarising filter, which I had read somewhere before. I forgot to take mine with me to the observation deck, so I didn't get to try it out. 

Anyone have any other tips, or can vouch for any of the two I read about tonight?  
kelvinjay
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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 6:16AM
A polarising filter can certainly work to reduce glass reflections, though it's a bit hit and miss in my experience for this kind of shooting. The best solution I've found is generally to have your lens flat against the glass if possible or use dark material (a jacket or whatever you have to hand) to act as a hood for the camera and shoot under it like a photographer 1890s style
Mijau
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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 9:01AM
I recommend a big black umbrella. There used to be rubber lens hoods to help to have the lens flat to the glass but I'm not shure if you can buy one nowadays.
KaleviTamm
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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 9:26AM
Break the glass!
kelvinjay
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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 10:28AM

Posted By KaleviTamm:
Break the glass!


Yeah, but the airlines take a really dim view of this...
slobo
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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 2:19PM

press the lens against the glass. I do it all the time.


 
lucentius
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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 3:57PM
Determine where the reflection is coming from (angles of reflection and incidence from school physics) then place a large black board in that direction. Polarising filters can help, but the unpolarised light hitting the glass surface will only be polarised on reflection if you make an angle of about 55 to 60 degrees with the normal to the glass (look up Brewster Angle on wiki).
fotoVoyager
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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 4:45PM
http://www.lenskirt.com/
4x6
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Posted Wed Jun 5, 2013 11:09AM
I like the lenskirt product. I've ordered one. Thanks!
fotoVoyager
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Posted Wed Jun 5, 2013 12:11PM
Works well, though I'd like a bigger one. I emailed them and they said a larger version was in the works.
4x6
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Posted Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:52PM
I tried out the lenskirt today, yes it does work well, thanks for the recommendation. Though it seems I might need to use with a polarizer as well. I had two cameras in my car today both triggered by pocket wizard and both shooting through the car window. The one with the wide angle that was using the lenskirt without polarizer had len's flair, due to the sun being in the shot. Whereas the other camera pointed in the same direction was with a telephoto lens and had a polarizer on but no lenskirt. I didn't see any len's flair.  
SteveDF
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Posted Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:32PM

You are really dealing with 2 completely different issues here. The lenskirt does not help with flair at all. It's job is to block reflections on the glass from inside the room (or car). It does nothing for light sources which shine directly on your lens.


If the sun is in the frame there is not much you can do. I guess the polarizer may help a little but not much. Direct sunlight is not very polarized. Maybe the car window is polarizing it some but I don't think very much. You might also try keeping your lens hood on even with the skirt. The job of the lens hood is to get as close to the field of view as possible to block light from striking the front element of your lens at an angle. Any bright light striking your lens glass, even if the light source is not visible in the frame, will bounce around in the lens and fog the image slightly. The skirt is made wide so you can use it with any lens and still point the lens at angles. It will not function the same as a lens hood.


Wide angle lenses are hard to keep flair and fog out of. I think the difference you saw was mostly due to wide angle verses telephoto.
4x6
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Posted Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:20PM
I believe you are correct Steve, thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Top-Cat
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Posted Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:25AM
Four words: "Light, Science and Magic" - this book explains everything about photographing reflective surfaces by using lighting and other techniques.
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